Expecting Personal Perfection

Expecting Personal Perfection. Psychology Fanatic article header image

Intellectually we know that perfection is impossible. Yet, we judge and punish our glitches with impunity, still expecting personal perfection. Drowning in shame, we grapple with the incomprehensible things that we do—perhaps a relic from strict childhoods, desperately wanting to please but always falling short. We can’t simply erase the disturbing demons of childhood—emotional reactions stubbornly resist. We can, however, learn to better cope with the childhood hitch hikers, embrace our beingness, and with hope and compassion progress and refine.

Recognizing Our Harsh Self Judgement

​By recognizing emotional relics, we can challenge the harsh judgments, soothing the discomfort from the yoke of weighty expectations of personal perfection, and embrace the shameful self. We can soften judgments with purposeful reminders of our natural fallibility and human imperfectness. By redirecting thoughts, we don’t extinguish embedded emotions connected to expecting personal perfection. Strong emotions bubbling to the surface from childhood programming continue, but we can lesson their impact with mindfulness and adapting healthy practices that soothe the emotions.

“We can soften judgments with purposeful reminders of the natural fallibility and imperfectness of human existence.”

Harsh Self-Judgement Doesn’t Motivate Action

The problem with expecting personal perfection is the harshness that we use to judge ourselves. The constant berating of ourself diminishes internal resources rather than recruit effective action. The bombardment of critical judgment, projected on to the nature of our character, quickly undermines action, depressing our souls, and encouraging pulling back instead of reaching further. We must be kinder to the ordinary flaws of living without giving license to ethical shortcuts. We don’t excuse cheating on taxes, but also don’t condemn for a day of laziness.

​See Broaden and Build Theory for more on this topic

“There is beauty and humility in imperfection.”

~​Guillermo del Toro

We Are All Flawed

Our daily blunders teach humility, faithfully reminding of imperfectness—the flawed existence we all share. We learn wisdom through examining errors; not by expecting personal perfection, and despising every defect. If we demand personal perfection, expecting critical judgment to drive self improvement, we will fail. We are who we are! The more we examine, the more we discover—millions of shortcomings wait to slap us down, depress our souls and announce imperfection. We will never achieve personal perfection.

In Conclusion, punishing our personal imperfections doesn’t motivate. Conversely, we should let curiosity drive explorations of possible opportunities, letting go of self-punishments. In awe of our aliveness, we can embrace our imperfect humanity. We can acknowledge hurtful behaviors without declaring a destructive war on ourselves. Only then can we make corrections, embrace our inner child, and then kindly move forward.

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